Happy B-Day Nate!
Just a quick post to say Happy Birthday to my "Tater." He's 16 today, which means he's been with us for 12 years now! Above is a picture from the first day I ever saw him. He was 4 year old DWB fresh from Holland sent to me for training by a breeder I worked with. For those who don't know how he got his name, his reg. name is "Napoli," but I worried that his inevitable nickname "Nappy" could also mean either a diaper or a recalcitrant horse - neither particularly flattering. But we also had a running joke that he had the attention span of a gnat... and 'gnat' turned into the slightly more flattering "Nate." But of course that has since degenerated into "Nate-o-potato" or just "Tater."
I can't get over how little he's changed since then - just as big and goofy as ever ;-) Once he arrived and I started working with him, I just fell in love with him and ended up buying him for myself. There have been plenty of ups and downs due to his various health issues these last few years, but he was also my companion while traveling across and training in Europe, he's the horse I've jumped the biggest and done the most advanced dressage with, he showed me that it IS possible for a big, powerful warmblood to be featherlight on the aids, and he's taught me the most of any horse about the best feeding and management practices. He's been a great horse and I can't imagine our herd without him. We often call him "the Mayor" as he's everyone's best friend and seems to be the glue that holds the whole thing together. He's the only one who can get away with taking a sample bite from everyone else's bucket when they're fed together outside, and his endless curiosity means he's the one you can always expect to be looking over your shoulder when you're working out in the paddock for any reason ;-)
And since it's a nice day, I think I might head out to the barn, groom him up and maybe take him for a nice hack. And lots of carrots!